SENECA FALLS, N.Y. - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, the late former first lady Betty Ford and Title IX advocate Bernice Sandler are among the nine women set to be inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame on Saturday.
The ceremony is being held in Seneca Falls, the western New York village where the first known women's rights convention was held in 1848.
"I'm absolutely thrilled. I can't believe it," Pelosi told The Associated Press this week by phone from Washington before the ceremony. Several of her female congressional colleagues, along with two of her daughters and two granddaughters, plan to attend.
Also being honored are "Sexual Politics" author Kate Millett; horse racing's most successful female jockey, Julie Krone; Ina May Gaskin, who is known as the "mother of authentic midwifery"; and monetary scholar Anna Jacobson Schwartz, who collaborated with Nobel laureate Milton Friedman on "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960," published in 1963. She died last year.
The inductees also include the late Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, who in 1912 founded Maryknoll Sisters, the first U.S.-based Catholic missionary congregation of religious women, and 19th-century educator Emma Hart Willard, who advocated for equal education for women in higher education in the early 1800s.
"The 2013 inductees again represent the spirit of Seneca Falls and the groundbreaking events that inspired the nation and the world," Beverly Ryder, co-president of the board of directors, said in announcing the inductees this year.
Pelosi, from California, is being recognized for more than 25 years in politics and as the nation's first female House speaker and first woman to lead a major U.S. political party. This year she launched a women-based agenda on the 165th anniversary of the Seneca Falls convention, advocating for equal pay for women, paid family leave and affordable child care, which she said is the biggest missing piece to the fulfillment of women's potential.
"Our national security will be stronger, our economy will be more competitive, our politics will be more wholesome and our academic life will be enriched the more we unleash the power of women," Pelosi said.
Ford, who was first lady from 1974 to 1977, shared her struggles with breast cancer and addiction and co-founded the treatment center that bears her name.
Sandler, senior scholar at the Women's Research and Education Institute in Washington, filed the first charges of sex discrimination against 250 educational institutions in 1970. She was instrumental in the passage of the 1972 Title IX law requiring gender equity in every educational program that receives federal funding.
Krone, in 2000, was the first woman to be inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. In 1993, she became the first woman to win a Triple Crown race when she rode Colonial Affair in the Belmont Stakes. She was also the first woman to win a Breeders' Cup race at the 2003 Juvenile Fillies.
The Hall of Fame says Pelosi, Sandler, Gaskin, Krone and Millett will attend. Ford's daughter, Susan Ford Bales, plans to represent her mother, who died in 2011.
The inductees join the ranks of suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, tennis pro Billie Jean King, astronaut Sally Ride and actress Lucille Ball. A new class is selected every other year based on the inductees' lasting contributions to society. In all, 247 women have been inducted so far.